Federal Court Strikes Down North Carolina’s Racist Gerrymandering Law

BIRMINGHAM, AL - NOVEMBER 04:  African-Americans line up to vote outside Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in the presidential election November 4, 2008 in Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham, along with Selma and Montgomery, were touchstones in the civil rights movement where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led massive protests which eventually led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 ending voter disfranchisement against African-Americans. Americans are voting in the first presidential election featuring an African-American candidate, Democratic contender Sen. Barack Obama, who is running against Republican Sen. John McCain.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Mario Tama/Getty Images


In another blow to voter and racial suppression, a federal court just stuck down North Carolina’s racially designated gerrymandering ploy just weeks after the federal courts stuck down their racist voter ID law.

In the case, Covington v. North Carolina, the three judge panel in the Middle District ruled that North Carolina lawmakers (who have a supermajority in both state chambers) unconstitutionally used race as a key factor when redrawing the legislative districts for the state House and state Senate members in 2011.

However, because the decision was delivered late into the election season, the ruling will not take effect until the start of the new session in 2017, meaning voters will head to the voting booths in November under the jurisdiction of unconstitutional districts that do not accurately represent the voters in the state.

We regrettably conclude that due to the mechanics of state and federal election requirements, there is insufficient time, at this late date, for: the General Assembly to draw and enact remedial districts; this Court to review the remedial plan; the state to hold candidate filing and primaries for the remedial districts; absentee ballots to be generated as required by statute; and for general elections to still take place as scheduled in November 2016.

Not only does the decision affect the state legislature districts, but also congressional districts. Even though Mitt Romney won North Carolina by less than two percent against President Obama in 2012, of the 13 congressional districts, Democrats only won three.

In 2010, even with the Republican takeover in Congress, and a year before the new districts were drawn, seven Democrats won and six Republicans won.

I wonder what changed.

Republicans’ attempt to block blacks and minorities from voting and having adequate representation has suffered another blowback from the courts. No wonder Republicans are so hostile to the judiciary – they keep blocking their suppression of the electorate.

The court found:

There are 120 state House districts and 50 state Senate districts. The court found that 28 of those districts were illegal racial gerrymanders.
With a redraw, Democrats could really have a chance in 2018 and 2020 to even out the majority leadership in the legislature, thus allowing more say in budgetary matters, social policy, and drawing fairer legislative maps.
Justice prevailed today!

The Great GOP Breakup

Landon Nordeman for TIME


As Republican loyalists continue to flee, Donald Trump ignited new party tensions by refusing to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan or a pair of senators seeking re-election, a remarkable display of party division just three months before Election Day

WATCH: Angry John Oliver blisters ‘f*cking a**hole’ Donald Trump for his comments on Khan family

Last Week Tonight host John Oliver -- HBO screenshot

Last Week Tonight host John Oliver — HBO screenshot


HBO’s Last Week Tonight, an emotional and angry John Oliver wrapped up his comparison of the Republican and Democratic national conventions with a withering commentary on GOP nominee Donald Trump’s smear of the family of a war hero.

Going where regular cable pundits won’t or can’t go, the HBO host cut tight to chase by addressing Trump as: “you f*cking asshole.”

After showing clips of Trump speaking with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, where he appeared to make it seem that Ghazala Khan — the grieving mother of war hero Capt. Humayun Khan — was afraid to speak in front of her husband due to the family’s religious beliefs, Oliver unloaded on Trump.

“Okay,” Oliver began, “For a start, his wife has explained that she chose not to speak because she gets too upset when she sees images of her dead son’s face, you f*cking asshole. But, I’m sorry, please continue.”

After running a clip of Trump comparing the”sacrifices” he made while building up his businesses to the loss of Khan’s son, Oliver had enough.

“No. No they absolutely are not” Oliver railed. “They are half-truths from a self-serving half-man who has somehow convinced half the country that sacrifice is the same thing as success.”

“Honestly, the main take-away from these two weeks is that, incredibly, we may be on the brink of electing such a damaged, sociopathic narcissist, that the simple presidential duty of comforting the families of fallen soldiers mat actually be beyond his capabilities,” Oliver exclaimed. “And I genuinely did not think that was the part of the job that someone could be bad at.”

Watch the video below, via YouTube:


Republican Party Is Ready to Abandon Its Own Gender and Racial Diversity in 2016

Republican Party Is Ready to Abandon Its Own Gender and Racial Diversity in 2016

(Image Credit: Getty Images)


The American political party that is poised to knight a real estate mogul turned reality TV star as its presidential nominee is also on verge of taking a diversity blow. As the Republican Party rolls out its convention red carpet for Donald Trump, elected GOP officials who fit the demographics that he has routinely lampooned — women and minorities — are in danger of losing reelection, The Hill reported Tuesday.

This comes as the GOP scrambles to find candidates who might energize young, millennial voters. Their efforts seem to have fallen flat this year — the National Republican Congressional Committee last week released a list of 11 top-tier candidates for its millennial-focused “Young Guns” program and they were mostly white and male.

Meanwhile, Democrats will likely retain or see gains in House representation of women, Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian-Americans, according to The Hill. Most of the women and minority members of Congress are Democrats.

Republican Party Is Ready to Abandon Its Own Gender and Racial Diversity in 2016

(U.S. Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) is pictured in 2015.Source: Rick Bowmer/AP)

Women make up just 84 of 435 House members — of which 22 are Republicans. All 10 of the Asian-American House members are Democrats. Two of the 43 black House members are Republicans, while six of the 29 Latino House members are GOP.

On the Senate side, 20 of 100 current members are women, while just six are people of color. That breaks down to one Asian-American, three Latinos and two blacks. Sens. Tim Scott (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) are the GOP members of color.

It’s no secret that the Republican Party has historically struggled to attract minorities. The party has been more recently linked to policies such as voter ID laws and transgender bathroom bills that have a disproportionate negative impact on racial minorities and the LGBTQ community. But diversity problems have also shown up at the local levels.

The nation as a whole is roughly 33% nonwhite, according to the Pew Research Center. But only 14% of state legislators are racial minorities, according to a New American Leaders Project report released in January.

Republican Party Is Ready to Abandon Its Own Gender and Racial Diversity in 2016

(U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), left, is pictured with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.Source: Alan Diaz/AP)

The Republican National Committee called for the party to embrace diverse candidates following the re-election of President Barack Obama in 2012. “Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the Party represents, and many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country,” an RNC report states.

Authors of the report added: “When someone rolls their eyes at us, they are not likely to open their ears to us.”

So, who might young Republicans and independents of color listen to? Reps. Mia Love (R-UT) and Will Hurd (R-Texas), who are black, and Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), who is Hispanic — each are fighting uphill battles for reelection, according to The Hill.

If Love and Hurd lose in November, and no other candidates of color are elected, the GOP will have no African-Americans in what is supposed to be the nation’s more representative body.

Republican Party Is Ready to Abandon Its Own Gender and Racial Diversity in 2016
(U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) is pictured in 2015.Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By Aaron Morrison

Read more:
California Will Send Either a Black Woman or a Latina to the U.S. Senate in
Here’s Why the 150th Anniversary of the Ku Klux Klan Should Frighten You in 2016
Here’s More Proof Electing a Black President Didn’t Solve the Racial Divide in America


George Will Jumps From Sinking Ship That Is The GOP


Longtime conservative columnist George Will is wiping his hands clean of the Republican Party.

This is not my party,” Will told PJ Media on Saturday. The Washington Post writer said a Democratic presidency would be better than the alternative offered by Donald Trump — who once called Will a “major loser.”

“Make sure he loses,” Will said of the presumptive GOP nominee. “Grit their teeth for four years and win the White House.”

His voter registration in Maryland has now changed from Republican to “unaffiliated,” PJ Media reported. The final straw was House Speaker Paul Ryan‘s (R-Wis) endorsement of Trump, he said.

In the meantime, Trump continues to fumble over himself. Just this week, he fired his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski before setting off to Scotland to promote his golf resorts.

“He had one good day because he didn’t vomit all over himself and gave a decent speech,” GOP consultant Matt Mackowiak said of Trump.

Sebastian Murdock

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

GOP Civil War Brewing As Delegates Plot To Dethrone Trump At Convention

GOP Civil War Brewing As Delegates Plot To Dethrone Trump At Convention

Getty Images/Rob Jenkins


Donald Trump has been irritating everyone lately. It has gotten to the point that even many of the most horrific conservatives can’t look past the hate speech and general insanity that has accompanied The Donald’s attempt to become Dictator-in-Chief. For the most part, they have been fine with Trump’s bigotry: his suggestion that Muslims should be crammed into concentration camps while those not already in the country should be banned, his talk of building walls to keep brown people out of the country, his numerous racist and misogynist statements, and his support of his horrible followers beating African-Americans at his rallies. They’ve even been fine with his itchy trigger finger when it comes to launching nuclear weapons.

But Trump’s recent attacks on a “Mexican” federal judge from Indiana, his rapidly-dropping poll numbers, and his slightly more reasonable remarks about gun safety regulations, have the delegates he has earned ready for mutiny. The Washington Post reports that delegates are hatching plans to stop Trump. While many others have attempted to start movements to end Trump for good, this time it’s different — the people who make the rules are the ones leading the movement:

The delegates are angered by Trump’s recent comments on gun control, his racial attacks on a federal judge and his sinking poll numbers. They are convinced that Trump is an insufficiently conservative candidate and believe they will find enough like-minded Republicans within the next month to change party rules and allow delegates to vote for whomever they want, regardless of who won their state caucus or primary.

“This literally is an ‘Anybody but Trump’ movement,” said Kendal Unruh, a Republican delegate from Colorado who is leading the campaign. “Nobody has any idea who is going to step in and be the nominee, but we’re not worried about that. We’re just doing that job to make sure that he’s not the face of our party.”

The fresh wave of anti-Trump organizing comes as a growing number of Republicans have signaled that they will not support Trump for president. In addition, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who is slated to chair the Republican National Convention next month in Cleveland, said in remarks released Friday that House Republicans should “follow their conscience” on whether to support Trump.

The new anti-Trump movement is pushing for a change to party rules that would allow them to vote for whomever they want if their “conscience” (term used loosely because our friends on the Right don’t have those) doesn’t allow them to support that person.

On Friday, Trump dismissed the plot against him.

“I won almost 14 million votes, which is by far more votes than any candidate in the history of the Republican primaries,” Trump said. “I have tremendous support and get the biggest crowds by far and any such move would not only be totally illegal but also a rebuke of the millions of people who feel so strongly about what I am saying.”

“People that I defeated soundly in the primaries will do anything to get a second shot — but there is no mechanism for it to happen,” the billionaire concluded. But those in charge of the latest effort to shut Trump down say they do not have a specific candidate in mind.

According to those involved, at least 30 delegates in 15 states have signed on — a small fraction of the more than 2,400 delegates who will be at the convention in Cleveland.

“Trump just continues to embarrass himself and his party and this is not going to let up,” Iowa GOP delegate Cecil Stinemetz told the Post. “Trump just continues to embarrass himself and his party and this is not going to let up.”

Will the movement succeed? Will Trump continue to embarrass his party and Americans as a whole.

By John Prager

GOP Senators Swoon Over Donald Trump After Hill Meeting


AP Photo / Andrew Harnik

From: The Smoke-filled Room


According to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the Senate majority whip who was also in attendance, Trump “seemed certainly open and willing to listen.”

“He is actually a pretty affable guy, much different than sort of the public demeanor, but it must be working for him,” Cornyn said.

Trump met with Hatch, Cornyn, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and other prominent GOP senators at the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee offices a few blocks from the Capitol. The meeting lasted about an hour. Outside a group of anti-Trump protesters chanted and sang. Earlier in the morning Trump also met with Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and other House leaders at the RNC headquarters.

The Kumbaya moment comes as some Republican lawmakers, including Ryan, balked at supporting him outright after he emerged the GOP nominee last week.

But the words “positive” and “productive” were lobbed frequently by senators to describe Thursday’s pow-wow.

“It was a very gracious and positive meeting and I already feel pretty good about it, but I feel even better,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, who, as the NRSC chair, attended the Trump meeting.

“It was a good back and forth,” he told reporters afterward.

According to those present in the Senate meeting, the topics of discussion included trade, energy, the debt, the Supreme Court, as well as the impact Trump will have down the ballot.

“I think they’ve got some work to do on the policy front,” Cornyn said, when asked if Trump had settled on a tax plan.

Cornyn also said that, as a border state senator who won a majority of Texas’ Hispanic vote, he offered Trump some advice on his tone on immigration: “I said, there is a way to talk about these issues that people don’t find offensive yet still make the point that we’re all for secure borders.”

There was “some peripheral discussion” of Trump’s proposal to ban Muslim immigration, Hatch said, adding, “but I can’t remember what was said.”

But more generally, those present said they weren’t too concerned about Trump’s rhetoric.

“He doesn’t have to [change his tone],” Hatch said, “because the whole discussion was very solid.”

Hatch was asked if he got the sense that Trump was on board with Republicans and their agenda.

“Well, it was only an hour-long discussion,” he said.

Lauren Fox contributed to this report.



Poll: Trump nomination sparks more fear than hope

From The Smoke-filled Room




The fact that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party scares voters more than it surprises them, according to an NBC Neww/SurveyMonkey poll released Tuesday.

Forty-seven percent of respondents said their reaction to Trump becoming the presumptive nominee was fear. Just 26 percent said they were hopeful, while another 21 percent said they were angry and 16 percent were surprised.

Thirty-five percent of respondents would be scared to see Hillary Clinton win the Democratic presidential nomination, while 29 percent would be hopeful, 22 percent would be angry and just 7 percent would be surprised.

The former secretary of state tops Bernie Sanders in the national poll by 12 percentage points among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters, 53 percent to 41 percent with 5 percent undecided.

Sanders has closed the gap by 2 points in the past week. Despite that, however, voters overwhelmingly believe Clinton will ultimately clinch the nomination. Eighty-four percent said they think Clinton will win the nomination, while just 15 percent believe Sanders can still win.

In a general-election match-up against Trump, Sanders fares far better. The Vermont senator leads the real estate mogul by double digits, 53 percent to 40 percent. Clinton, on the other hand, bests Trump by just 5 points, 49 percent to 44 percent.

The poll of 12,714 adults, 11,089 of whom say they are registered to vote, was conducted May 2-8. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.3 percentage points among registered voters and plus or minus 2 percentage points in the Democratic sample.




JEWEL SAMAD via Getty Images

DON THE NOM… Some Would Rather Disown GOP Party Than Vote Trump… Tea Party Writer: I’d Rather ‘Go Down In Flames’… GOP ‘BROKEN’… Crisis Even Worse Than It Looks… RNC Head: Unite Around Donald… GOP’s Plan C: Search For Third-Party Kamikaze Candidate Begins… #NeverTrump To Decide If Never Means Never…

How A Federal Judge Just Helped Republicans In A Key Swing State

How A Federal Judge Just Helped Republicans In A Key Swing State

Featured image via Flickr


This judge just put his thumb on the scales for the presidential election.

Republicans were just given a leg up over Democrats in this fall’s presidential election in the battleground state of North Carolina, and they have a judge put in place by George W. Bush to thank for it.

Federal judge Thomas D. Schroeder decided in favor of Republican legislators in court on Monday, letting a controversial voter ID law stay in place despite strong objections from civil rights groups.

Research on Voter ID laws have shown that these laws are often a reliable way for Republican conservatives to cut down on voters that often vote for Democrats, especially minorities and young voters.

The judge, Thomas D. Schroeder of Federal District Court in Winston-Salem, wrote near the end of his 485-page opinion that “North Carolina has provided legitimate state interests for its voter ID requirement and electoral system.”

North Carolina’s voter identification law requires people to display one of six credentials, such as a driver’s license or passport, before casting a ballot. Those who cannot may complete a “reasonable impediment declaration” and cast a provisional ballot.

Schroeder was officially put in place on January 8, 2008, at the beginning of George W. Bush’s last year in office.

The North Carolina law also banned same-day registration, cut down on the amount of days available for early voting, and stops 16 and 17-year-olds from preregistering to vote.

An expert testified at the trial that the law was designed in a way to put extra burden on black and Latino voters. Republican legislators and the state’s GOP governor Pat McCrory deny the claim.

In 2012, a Republican Pennsylvania State House leader bragged that that state’s voter ID laws would “allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania” (he didn’t), while recently a Republican congressman from Wisconsin said voter ID would make the state – which has recently voted for Democrats – competitive in the fall for Republicans.

President Obama won North Carolina in 2008 by 0.32% then lost it in 2012 by 2.04%. Polling in March showed the race in North Carolina effectively a toss-up between the Democratic and Republican presidential front runners.

Author: Oliver Willis